Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure Review


It’s time to look at a comedy film from a while back that’s definitely pretty well known. It did manage to get two sequels after all. It’s hard to find main characters that are less intelligent than these guys. Bill and Ted consistently look pretty bad throughout the whole film. The writing is pretty solid though. The film can definitely get a bit overboard with how silly it is at times. It’s definitely going for a comedic approach you don’t see quite as much nowadays. Still, it manages to land pretty well for the most part. I don’t see this title as having a lot of replay value but on your first go around it’s fun enough.

The movie starts off with Bill and Ted goofing off as usual. Unfortunately this has finally come back to bite them. Ted is at risk of failing history and if that happens then he will get sent off to military school. He tries to study with Bill but they’re just no good at this and the presentation for the final is tomorrow anyway. Fortunately they have some help. In the future, Bill and Ted are supposed to change the galaxy as we know it through their music. So an envoy is sent to the past to rescue the main characters from their plight. What happens is they send a time machine to the present so Bill and Ted can travel back in time and bring back a bunch of famous figures to answer the historical questions that they needed. This is a bold plan. Can the heroes pull it off? Or…have they already done so since the future already exists for them to do it?

Time travel is always an interesting concept in part because people can never really decide on what the rules should be. Personally, my favorite time travel rules are rather similar to DBZ’s. When you go to the past, you can’t affect your own timeline since the events have already happened. Effectively you are traveling to a parallels timeline where the events will now be different. As such you can’t get stuck in any of the time loops that you see pop up here and there. That’s because the events didn’t already happen, they’re all fresh as soon as they occur. This film is using a different theory though that you actively change time as you go through it. Because of that, the heroes are now in a time loop. The loop doesn’t make perfect sense by the end though such as some scenes we get of the heroes already doing things that they haven’t yet like recording a message of leaving notes. The only way that works is if you did another time travel adventure but the problem is actually starting it as they’d need to use more machines and actually time things perfectly which I don’t trust the leads to do. It does get pretty messy but it’s a very unique way to show time travel which was cool.

After all, there has to be a first encounter in order to set up the loop and I don’t see how that works. Clearly Ted would have been sent to military school without the help so the future wouldn’t be around to come back to the past and save him. If they were, then it would mean that the future doesn’t actually need Bill and Ted after all. Either way that does not bode particularly well for the heroes when you think about it. It’s part comedy so no need to think on it too much but it’s something that does stand out the more you think about it.

As I mentioned, the film’s pretty fun. As a comedy it really needs to be in order to succeed. It doesn’t mean that every joke will land, it’s rare for any comedy film to pull that off. Still, more land than the ones that do not which is the critical factor here. Personally I mainly enjoyed when the heroes were in the present compared to being in the past. I thought the film could have had more fun with these figures from the olden days enjoying modern life. We do get some of that near the end though which was nice. We even have a big mall fight where the cops show up to take them all down. It makes for a pretty solid action scene.

As for Bill and Ted as characters, I wouldn’t say that any of them are particularly likable. Both of them don’t study hard so they have nobody to blame but themselves on why they weren’t ready for the exams. I wouldn’t say they’re the most heroic characters either. This is the kind of film that isn’t relying on the leads which is good. The cast wasn’t really anything to write home about in general. The fathers of both kids were pretty unreasonable the whole time. We don’t see Ted’s mother but Bill’s was trying pretty hard at least. The lunch may have been burned but the attempt was on point. I liked the teacher even though he didn’t get to appear a whole lot. He may be a pretty strict guy but he still gave everyone a chance which is the important part. The fact that he let them have an opportunity to succeed shows that he cared at least.

Overall, By the end of the film you’ll have heard the word “excellent” quite a lot. One of the main reasons why this film was able to succeed is also that while Bill and Ted were portrayed as being very unintelligent, they weren’t super annoying about it. I’ll take “excellent” and the electric guitars as running themes over other options they could have had. The film also widely avoids crude humor which I was pleasantly surprised about. This definitely goes a long way as well. In short, this film was actually written pretty well. It succeeds in the approach it’s going for and the film just flies by. Ultimately I was entertained and it’s not like the film is very long either so it definitely doesn’t drag on or anything like that. It’ll be interesting to see if the sequels can quite match up to this one. If you like comedy films then this is a good one to check out. It’s not the best or anything like that but it holds its own and the sci-fi/time travel angle helps make this one fairly unique. I’m always in favor of using time travel to change history if it’s an option and these characters certainly don’t have any qualms against it.

Overall 6/10

Transporter 3 Review


It’s time to look at the final film in the trilogy. The first two Transporter films were both pretty solid. I thought the second beat the first by a narrow margin. Unfortunately this one is quite a bit weaker than the first two. Essentially it’s going for similar themes and fights, but just ends up weaker in every area compared to the first two. While I wouldn’t say this is an inherently bad thing as losing to good films isn’t a problem, this film just isn’t that good. I’d say it does just enough to skate by on not being called a bad film but it’s a little too close to the line for comfort. It’s a shame because the film has quite a lot of potential with the premise alone.

So the film starts off with some scenes involving a giant boat trying to land but realizing that it can’t. The captain calls his Russian mafia friends and they confirm that they are close to finishing off the deal. They seem to have some kind of blackmail on the environmental minister. He’ll be signing their papers in a day so that they can offload all of their boats. The minister sends his men in to stop this but only a day is a pretty tough timeline. Meanwhile Frank is enjoying retirement. He turned down the latest assignment to transport and just relaxes with some fishing. Unfortunately his day is ruined when an old friend bursts through his window in a car along with a lady named Valentina. The guy dies since he goes too far from the car and then Frank gets mugged. He is forced by the villains to take the job of transporting a few packages along with Valentina to a far away destination. Now that Frank has the wrist device he also can’t go too far from the car or he will be blown up. The problem is that he and Valentina don’t get along at all. She’s quite antagonistic the whole time despite Frank’s best efforts. Looks like it’s up to him to get out of this situation.

I will say that the film’s beginning had a few warning bells. Nothing too serious to be honest so I don’t want to overstate it. The film’s problems would get worse as it went along. Still, the intro was rather dull. The scenes on the boat still feel pretty pointless to me. At the very least I don’t see why you would start with these scenes. Some guys break into the cargo area and die to the poison? I suppose this is to tip us off that the boat is related to criminal activity…but that was pretty obvious from the jump. The boat characters maybe appear for 2-3 minutes total for the rest of the film. We then cut away to fishing which also isn’t very exciting. The only good part here is the car chase while Frank narrates over it. It’s just a very slow beginning.

The other warning sign is that Frank doesn’t look very intelligent at all. He notices that his friend has a weird tech thing on his arm and the friend begs him not to let them take him to an ambulance. Frank ignores this and after they take him away finally realizes that it’s because the thing on his arm was a bomb. The friend dies of course. So….maybe we can cut Frank some slack because this might not be a common device. You see it all the time in movies but we could say it’s not normal. Still, you’d expect him to be a lot more on the ball with this. Getting knocked out shortly afterwards wasn’t a good look for him either although to be fair he gets quite a habit of getting beaten up when it’s a sneak attack.

I don’t mind the idea of having to stay close to the car though. It’s a good way to build up tension. You may have a hard time believing how he catches up to the car at times but it’s a solid plot gimmick nonetheless. Additionally, I still do like the fights in Transporter 3 even though they are a noticeable downgrade from the first two films. Gone are the days when Frank would win his fights with advanced martial art techniques. One thing I really liked about the first film was that he was shown to be an expert fighter. He was using crazy hand to hand techniques you’d never seen. I’d actually say as a pure fighter he is even better than Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, Dwayne Johnson, and James Bond. This guy is just an excellent fighter without a doubt. In this film he uses more basic moves. He still beats everyone up and looks generally impressive but the choreography isn’t at the same level. There are a ton of jump cuts. For that reason, the opening fight in the flashback is easily my favorite fight scene in the film. I thought a lot more effort was put into this one than the others that would come later on.

Where the film goes wrong is really with the main heroine and the inevitable romance that follows. Valentina is one of those characters who gives Frank quite an attitude the whole time. Typically I’m okay with characters having some attitude. She has no reason to trust this guy and it’s a stressful situation right? Well, the problem is that this isn’t totally true. We learn later on some interesting twists about her character but they completely contradict her actions. The film would have been so much easier and quicker if she had been upfront with him. Her reason for staying quiet at the end of the film is comically bad. It’s just hard to understand what’s going through her head. Not only is she unhelpful but she actively puts them in danger like with the whole scene in the grocery store.

This long scene which involves her getting drunk and really just undermining her character makes her look really bad. I can’t cut her any slack for these actions “because she was drunk” because she knowingly chose to get drunk and high during a situation when they need to stay sharp and not die. She also forces a romance between her and Frank by blackmailing him with a bomb. Seriously? That’s got to be one of the worst romance starters I’ve seen in a long time. Literally if he says no he blows up and he can’t walk away either…or he will blow up. Not a whole lot of options to him and she has fun humiliating him for a while. Naturally he ends up enjoying the romance so it’s not a problem for him but this was a really, really bad scene. This plotline was bad from start to finish.

Valentina’s character never rises above this. She tries to be supportive later on but it’s too little too late. I’d also mention that she does a poor job of trying to get the villain driver to slow the car when Frank is behind them. All right, that’s enough on her character. Frank is a decent lead but he looks far worse than in the last two installments. Putting aside the romance and his getting mugged at the beginning of the film in addition to him not realizing about the friend, he even endangers his friend. It’s a comedy scene but he heads to a mechanic he knows and asks the guy to look over the car. We then get a big fight scene where the film resists the urge to use oil for a third time straight although you know it was close since they were fighting with cannisters. The friend asks if it’ll be okay since all of these big villains will wake up soon and Frank just says to go home. They all saw the guy’s face and presumably know his name. Frank just didn’t seem to care. We also just generally get less scenes of Frank humiliating everyone with how good he is in a fight. The guy is an old pro at how this works so showing more of that like in the first two films would be a good idea.

I’d also argue that the final scene of using the bomb with the main villain put Valentina in danger needlessly. As it is the explosion threw her under some rubble. She was okay but it could have very easily gone sideways and her death would have been really pointless there. Frank just can’t help but show off I suppose. The Inspector returns as a supporting character but his scenes feel a little pointless at this point. It’s the same ole jokes from the first two films and he’s always far too late to really do anything. He seems like a nice enough guy I suppose but you get the feeling that he was squeezed in.

Man, this is sounding like a negative review right? I’d say it’s just because the negatives of the film are so noticeable. The positives are still there but just not as strong as they could be. The soundtrack is pretty solid for the fights. I’d say that the lyrical songs we get are pretty weak though. The film succeeds as a thriller in the sense that we do have a lot of nonstop action and fights when the characters are on the road. I enjoyed the chase scene where you have the two black cars on the highway. The cars looking almost identical works pretty well for solid visuals while they’re bumping back and forth. There was some nice strategy used here as well. In general the film always delivers with the chases. There are less jump cuts than with the hand to hand fights as well which is good.

Overall, Transporter 3 is a downgrade from the first 2. The heroine is no good and her actions just don’t make sense especially once we get her flashbacks. It’s a shame because her character had potential as a tough female lead who could keep up with Frank. Her father is certainly presented as a tough figure at least. He actually talks back to villains and doesn’t just roll over with the blackmail. The guy’s got a ton of pull for an environmental leader. I didn’t realize they were quite so tough. At the same time, Russia always has a rep for being very tough so it was nice to see this guy keep that persona as opposed to losing it just because he was a good guy here. If you liked the first two films then you should still check this one out since it completes the saga. It’ll still deliver on the usual action and fight scenes that you would expect. The writing and everything else just experience a bit of a decline here so it’s easy to see why they didn’t go forward with another one in this saga. I think someday they should do a nostalgia fourth film though. The film just needs to focus more on the Transporter angle and give us some solid fight scenes.

Overall 5/10

Blade: Trinity Review


It’s time to look at the final Blade film. Does it end on a high note or end up disappointing? Well, it’s better than the first film but I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the second so it’s squarely in the middle. I liked that we got some more fighters this time around. It’s about time Blade had some backup. On the other hand, the plot feels pretty aimless the whole time and there isn’t much of a focus next to the first two. It feels like events just happen so Blade can go around beating people up. That’s not a bad story idea of course, but to me it felt like there wasn’t much of a plot beyond that.

So the movie starts with Blade murdering a bunch of vampires as normal. Unfortunately one of the guys he murders was just a human pretending to be a vampire. Unfortunately people see this so now the government is after him. The vampires have finally framed Blade. This lead to his capture but fortunately he is busted out by a pair of allies known as Abigail and Hannibal. They get him back to base and explain that Dracula has been resurrected. The 3 of them will need to take him out before the villains figure out the trick on how to be a day walker. This won’t exactly be the first time that Blade had to take down a powerful foe though so he’s ready for this. Blade isn’t the kind of guy who goes around losing fights after all.

I do have a bit of an issue with the opening. Blade is questioning why the guy didn’t die and is shocked to find out he wasn’t a vampire. We do have tons of familiars who are humans that Blade has been murdering throughout the films. Why is this guy any different? Seems to be like Blade is a little more surprised than he should be. Framing him would also be very easy for this same reason since he’s never cared who he murdered before. If they’re working with the villains then he ends them. End of story. That’s just how Blade works, he’s never been the kind of guy to even think about offering up some mercy. I’d be surprised if he were to stop now.

Unfortunately as part of the framing plot this does mean that Blade and Whistler spend a lot of time fighting off actual cops and government agents. You understand that they have to use some self defense, but this goes beyond that as they openly start shooting and bashing away at them. Whistler even uses a giant explosion that without a doubt murders a bunch of them. This is an ongoing trend that happens in numerous scenes. It feels like the heroes murder as many innocent people as villains in this film. It was a rather odd way to end off the trilogy. It does portray Blade as even more of a Punisher type of vigilante but I’m not sure if we needed that here. I think some of these scenes could have been cut or at least altered to show that they weren’t actually murdering anyone.

Beyond that Blade is still a solid lead though. He talks tough and is always ready to take the villains down. I like the new extended cable weapon he has since it’s very useful for taking down scores of enemies from a distance. If you ask me it’s easily one of his most useful weapons by a long shot. The Whistler gets his share of hits in as well. Without powers there isn’t a whole lot that he can do, but he’s always ready with background support. The two new characters are really the ones who are here to fight on the front lines.

First you have Hannibal who is mainly here to crack a lot of jokes. Apparently he used to be a vampire and got cured which is neat but it wouldn’t have made any difference if he wasn’t. This tidbit of knowledge doesn’t matter in the slightest. He manages to get a big win near the end although I can’t say it feels deserved since he should have lost that round. I found him to be a reasonably entertaining character although it would have been nice if he were a little stronger. Then you have Abigail who has an excellent opening scene and continues to look good throughout the film. She’s a solid hand to hand fighter and uses a crossbow that can even light up and burn opponents to death.

Blade finally has an ally who can really fight alongside him. She isn’t a vampire so she has no super abilities but her close quarter combat skills are enough for her to take multiple opponents down so that’s quite impressive in itself. She’s a big reason as to why the setup of Blade having allies worked. If both of them were comic relief it would have been a little pointless. As it stands, she can only continue to get better and better as she fights along with Blade and a fourth film with them would have been interesting.

As with the earlier films the fight scenes are really solid here. We get quite a few good battles and this time each character gets their own fight. This leads to a pretty wide variety of battles. Blade tends to have the best ones, but as mentioned Abigail’s was solid as well. Dracula’s battle with Blade is a highlight and we got a lot of back and forth there. Dracula’s character itself wasn’t amazing though. He spends his first fight scene running which is pretty odd for a guy who prides himself on being the King. You’d think that he would welcome a challenge right off the bat. I suppose vampires just can’t help but fear Blade.

As always the graphics are really solid here. The effects are on point and the soundtrack is also great. We get the classic rock themes that you always want to see. For the negatives, it’s really the same as always. The film’s pretty violent with everyone getting bumped off. There’s a lot of blood draining going on for sure. We also add a new wrinkle as we see dog vampires that end up getting bumped off. It was so completely unnecessary. The instant I saw the dog appear I knew the film was setting itself up for a fall. I’ll give the movie props for not having them die on screen but it’s of little comfort. The film would have lost at least a star if that had happened and if it lost 2 there wouldn’t have been any lower for it to go. The writing isn’t the best here, but it could be worse. At least the script tried being a little different from the previous ones.

Overall, Blade 3 had some good ideas but also faltered in others. On one hand it was nice to see Blade having some young allies who could actually fight alongside him and weren’t evil. The soundtrack continued to be really good too and amplify the fights. On the other hand, the film is as excessively violent as always and this time there were even animals. Additionally the plot itself felt the weakest. After Dracula resurrects and the heroes have their opening fights it feels like the film stagnates for a while until we get to the climax. It didn’t feel like the pacing was quite as tight as the last two films. I’ll give the 3 films this, they were all pretty consistent and roughly on the same level as each other. That may not have been a good thing for their score, but you can’t win em all.

Overall 2/10

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Star Wars film in the main saga. It’s been a long road so we’ve been waiting quite a while for this one. This trilogy has definitely had a checkered history with the first film being pretty much a 1-1 remake of episode IV and V destroyed any semblance of Luke Skywalker’s character, but did give us some of the first fight scenes we had in a very long time. This one is definitely better than the last two films. It may not take the series to the next level, but it certainly has more positives than negatives and I would easily recommend it to anyone who wants a good action film.

The movie starts off by with the group scattered once again. The Empire is on the offensive as always and Kylo Ren is searching for even greater power. He has found a new spark of life for his army and they threaten the very universe. Rey has been training so that she would be ready for the next big battle and is closer to being a Jedi Master. This has caused her to not be as available to the resistance which does bring some apprehensive feelings from the other characters. Finn and Poe have done their best to locate more intel but they are heavily outgunned and need some kind of backup support. Can the resistance rise up to overthrow the empire or have they finally hit their limit?

Right away one positive in the film is that it has a very fast pace. Something is always happening and we get to cover a lot of ground. There aren’t a whole lot of action scenes or at least it feels that way, but the ones we do get are very good. Whenever Rey and Ren face off against each other you are sure to have a good fight. The series still isn’t nearly as good at the battles as in films II and III which is a little odd since those are so old, but the battles still hold up. I always like hearing the lightsaber effects and how they are designed as well. The Force abilities are also pretty versatile and can be used in many ways. The film did a good job of incorporating them into the action scenes.

Luke Skywalker actually didn’t look terrible here which is already a point above the last film. He seemed like his old self and I was glad about that. It’s always fun to have cameos from the older characters through their force ghosts although some of them can be a bit much here. One character in particular was a bit iffy since he really shouldn’t have the ability to become a force ghost compared to the others. We can assume that they let him in and it’s not like the rules are totally set, but it did feel a bit cheesy. It does help make this finale feel a little more special though. We get to see almost every important character and location in the series.

One of the film’s weaknesses is that it’s a long movie that does feel long though. In part this is because the cast can’t hold their own scenes as well as the original characters. Rey does a good job as the lead, but Poe and Finn aren’t quite as exciting in the B plot as Han Solo was back in the day. We get to see a lot of nice backdrops in various scenes, but the scenery does add up which also gets attributed to the feeling that the film’s lasting a while. It’s probably a tradeoff that is unavoidable to feel like a LOTR epic, but I think the film could have shrunk the length down a bit or maybe focused more on Rey and thrown in some more fight scenes.

As always Rey is a great lead. In this film she is really struggling with her past a lot and trying not to go to the dark side. It’s a good internal battle and Rey tends to make the right decisions. I do think her friends had a point that she was taking too long training when they could use her on the front lines, but the training did allow her to stay on par with Kylo Ren so without it I wonder how she would have fared. Rey not come out on top every time, but she always fights hard and it’s nice to have a Jedi who is trained so well for a change. It feels like a long time since we’ve been to this point. The scene of her dragging down a ship was impressive the likes of which we haven’t seen since Starkiller.

This is one of the best parts about the film in general. It’s great to see Rey as a Jedi Master who is pretty confident and knows what she is doing. I’d like to see her go rogue a little more and just wreck the enemy, but she shows us enough so we know what she is capable of. We haven’t seen someone as powerful as her since episode III so it’s been a considerably long time. The fun part is when you think about it she is way stronger than even someone like Darth Vader just going by the films, but his appearances came before the effects got to this point so it’s not totally an equal comparison.

Unfortunately Finn didn’t bring his A game this time. I found him to be pretty annoying in a lot of scenes where he acts like he knows Rey better than Poe. Whether that is true or not he comes across as pretty obnoxious. One scene in particular is when he accuses Poe of not understanding Rey and when Poe asks him to help get this understanding, Finn just doesn’t bother helping out. It’s like telling someone that they don’t know the right answer and you do, but then not giving it to them when asked. In general I thought Finn was giving Poe a hard time throughout the film when it wasn’t really deserved. Poe was actually quite solid here. He got the shaft in the first two films compared to the other two so it was nice to see him take more of an active role here. Poe is probably the closest we would get to Han Solo so it’s nice to have another hot shot pilot like him.

Meanwhile we’ve got Kylo Ren on the villain side. I still can’t take him all that seriously without his helmet because of how beat up he always looks. The guy can still fight though so ideally this should be enough to get you on his side. While I can’t go into detail on his character too much, I thought his portrayal here was pretty good. I consider it to be an improvement over how he looked in the last two films. His first scene in the movie is probably his best one though even if he made the wrong call in the end.

Part of why most of the characters are at their best here is because the writing is pretty solid. We get a good script with some nice humor included. Most of the characters make the rational choices time and time again. The villains are constantly in-fighting while the heroes keep using their bonds to get through tough times. It helps their resistance feel a little more realistic even if they probably should have been completely wiped off the map by now. I already covered the fights, but the effects in general are really great as well.

Princess Leia is one character who I felt had no real purpose in this film. She was one of those characters who was just here for nostalgia along with a bunch of cameos. We got a flashback scene with her and I feel like it should not have been included because it just makes her look terrible. The reason why she gave up something boils down to her being scared of the future and that’s always one of the worst reasons to abandon something. She also made some wrong calls with regard to certain secrets so overall she really didn’t help the troops much at all.

One interesting concept that the film dabbles with is how the force can allow you to be in multiple places at once and transcend space/time. It seems like an interesting take on the astral plane because in a way that’s how the characters are connected. It was cool to see how they would effect different places at the same time. One point where I don’t see how it worked is how both characters got a lightsaber at the end and you’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film. It’s possible one was on the ground, but if the force duplicated it then that might be stretching things a little bit. Otherwise I think this ability still makes sense and is effectively a further demonstration of the usual force ghost abilities.

It does always make you wonder why the heroes don’t use this more often to mess with the villains. It opens up an interesting can of worms since the heroes could have easily ruined the villain’s plans a lot sooner if they would act in the real world more. One of the novels explained why they do not, but most of those are not canon anymore so I’d like the films to address it at some point. The power levels are pretty good for the most part though so I don’t really have any issues there. The soundtrack is good as well even if a whole lot of it is really just re-used from older films. I’d like to start seeing some new music in any future films going forward.

It’s hard to pick what the best scene in the film is, but mine is possibly when two characters are struggling for control over a ship in the distance. It’s a really nice scene showing how persistent both characters are and was one of the best portrayals of their individual strength as well. It was also the right move for the hero to do there instead of retreating or following. Just grabbing the ship made the most sense so long as it was a feasible option and that’s exactly what happened. One scene where a character made the wrong move is when someone rightfully mentions that they should consider a potential counter and as he is going into detail on why they should think about it he gets silenced. I guess some people just don’t want to win….

This film has a little romance although fortunately not much. Unfortunately it wasn’t handled well at all. This doesn’t feel like a natural progression considering how much animosity was between the two characters. It’s great that they could move past this so quickly of course, but jumping to the next step was a bit soon. Time was of the essence I suppose so it might have been more of a gesture of friendship with one person feeling bad for the other, but no matter how you slice it I couldn’t really give this part a thumbs up.

Rise of Skywalker has a pretty satisfying ending that deals with everything more or less. There is one missed opportunity in my opinion though. One character gets one last line to end the film with and if it was one word different it would have been amazing. It would have probably been pretty controversial as well, but sometimes you gotta take some big risks. This isn’t a negative though as it’s a purely subjective change and either way it works well enough.

So, where does Rise of Skywalker rank overall? Well, I’d put it above pretty much all of the films except III which ages better each time and IV. It’s tough with V, Rogue One, and VI, but I may have to actually put this one above those. Here’s the thing, those films had a more interesting setup and better characters, but I would call this the stronger film. I’d sooner rewatch those in part because it’s been a while, but if we’re comparing initial viewings then I would have to pick this one. So initially I thought this was around middle tier, but this would actually put it near the top.

All in all, this third trilogy is the strongest one. It may have had a slight dip with the middle film, but it didn’t have any bad installments either. I still think the worst thing it did was basically make all of the old films pointless with the reveal in VII that the Empire is back, but after that it recovered well. I think it’ll definitely live on as a nice trilogy for new viewers who don’t necessarily want to go back to the older days. I am interested in seeing new films come out with a fresh cast and all though. One thing I still really want is more Jedi and Sith battles. I’d like some high end battles like in Episode III. This one had some good battles, but there was still nothing even close to the level of those.

Overall, Rise of Skywalker is a solid way to wrap up the Star Wars series. I think I covered about as much as I could without heading into spoiler territory. I won’t call it a great movie because despite the fast pacing it wasn’t always super engaging. I think in part this is because the big emotional moments don’t really land. Seeing some guest stars and throwbacks to the past is always fun and all but I wouldn’t call any of these scenes particularly powerful. The action and effects should still keep you busy though and the film is technically sound. The writing is good and at the very least you can see how there was a lot of effort put in here. I’d recommend checking this film out whether you are a Star Wars fan or not. You should be able to jump in and quickly understand what is happening thanks to the helpful opening text and the fact that the basic plot (large scale) is easy enough to understand. It’s a war and the empire is the evil side.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Mirror Magic Review


It’s time to look at the big climax to the trilogy! The Mane 7 have gone to the theater to see how the film went. Naturally it was quite good, possibly the best film they ever saw. The heroes are pretty nice people so they don’t want to make a big deal of this, but then they see that Juniper is working here and decide to pay her a visit. After trying to sabotage the film, Juniper was fired and forced to work as a sweeper at the theater. The Mane 7 remind her of this and let her know that it’s what she deserves. Juniper decides to get back at the heroes and finds a mirror. With it she can throw people into other dimensions and even finish her chores quicker. She slowly begins to use this mirror more and more until she is completely hooked on it. Now she does not want to ever turn away from it. Why should she when this grants her super abilities?

Sunset realizes that she’s going to need pony power for this one and calls up Starlight Glimmer. Together they can succeed where the Equestria Girls failed. Juniper may have magical abilities, but the heroes have the power of friendship on their side! The big battle between good and evil starts here and it will definitely ensure that you never look at the characters the same way again. It was nice to see Juniper get a super form here as the other specials had been pretty down to Earth. Seeing the characters go cosmic again was definitely a blast.

Meanwhile, Juniper is a pretty fun villain here like in the other special. I do think that it’s basically impossible to sympathize with her at all. Considering how many crimes she committed in the last special, you’d think that she would be incredibly grateful to be working anywhere right? Instead she spends this time griping the whole while. She’s clearly very bitter about everything and hasn’t learned a thing in her exile. By the end we find out that she just wanted friends, but I’m not sure that I buy this. There was certainly no indication that this was the case until the very end. I think the heroes basically tricked her into believing that this was the case.

I do think Starlight Glimmer was pretty out of character here though. This seems to be the case a lot of the time when the Ponies show up in Equestria Girls though. Starlight acts like a complete beginner here. She isn’t very powerful or confident which isn’t like her. She gives some advice here and there, but spends most of the time just staying in the background. She could have been cut out of the film and nothing would have changed. That’s my main problem with the whole thing. Starlight should have been brought in to have a big fight with Juniper or something. Otherwise why even show up? Still, at least we finally got the big meeting between the two characters even if it was handled poorly.

All told, this trilogy ended on a pretty high note. The writing was good and the special’s short length really allows for the action to start up right away. I still say that Starlight was misused here, but you can’t win them all I suppose. The mirror was a good piece of tech so hopefully it shows up again. It could easily be used for a bunch of different plots which would certainly be fun.

Overall,, I have finally finished all of the Magic specials. With this I am one step closer to catching up with the MLP series. That will certainly be a pretty big milestone. If you haven’t seen these specials yet then you should do so. All 3 of them combined are barely an hour so you really can’t go wrong there. The low key best character of this is probably still Juniper’s uncle. the guy really did his best to help her turn over a new leaf. It’s just a shame that she persisted in staying with the darkness. At least now that she’s friends with the MLP characters she’ll have positive influences. (Provided they remember to check up on her from time to time)

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Movie Magic Review


It’s time to look at the next installment in the Magic trilogy. The heroes have arrived on the set of a Daring Do movie and are looking forward to seeing it be made first hand. As Rainbow Dash is a big fan she is determined to help the crew do it right. Unfortunately a ghost has been scaring people off the set and now even the props for the movie have vanished. Without those the movie will have to be put on indefinite hold. Dash can’t have that and so she decides that the group will find this ghost. She even brought along her super speed amulet so she can take this villain down a few pegs. Still, will that be enough to defeat an actual ghost?

This really plays out like a classic Scooby Doo film. It’s pretty neat to see how the MLP crew would handle such a task. Of course, it is a bit obvious who the culprit is from the start. I think the one area where the special made a mistake is in only having a small cast around. From those characters only 2 of them feel like actual suspects. You have a spoiled actress who keeps saying that she wants out of this film and then you have a movie attendant who really loves being in the film business. Hmmmm, who’s the likely culprit? Well, the actress would be the obvious guess since she doesn’t like the movie, but through that you know who is actually guilty. Still, even if you know who it is the actual mystery is still pretty fun.

I do think it was a bit of a stretch how the villain outran Rainbow Dash though and then captured her. Rainbow Dash isn’t a normal human like the rest of these characters, she has actual super speed? The whole thing felt like plot hax to be honest. Still, it did add a little sense of danger which is always good though. The team’s plan to capture the villain was also pretty well thought out. It just goes to show that the ponies have brainpower as well as brawn.

The ending was handled pretty well as the villain starts to go through the motions of pretending to turn over a new leaf and all of that. The director doesn’t buy into it and wants the person off the set. This time the culprit basically gets off with a slap on the wrist, but I guess it makes sense since this character is likely still a minor and as such can’t do a whole lot of hard time anyway. She’s banned from the set and that’s really all you could ask for.

From what we saw it looks like the Daring Do film will be a riveting success. I was half expecting the actual Daring Do to show up, but I guess she could have ended up stealing the show. Surprisingly there aren’t any real songs here, but I suppose maybe that would have been out of place with the whole mystery angle going on. I’d say that the first special beat this one as a result, but Movie Magic certainly did have a little more danger and suspense in the plot so it was pretty close. There’s not much to say about the graphics as they are effectively the same as in the first special.

Overall, Movie Magic is a good follow up to the first special. The main characters are a pretty close knit team by this point so it’s nice to see them making plans and such to catch the enemy. The villain was also fairly memorable and made for a good antagonist. I’ll talk more about her in the final special review. The 2nd special in a trilogy is usually more for set up than anything else and that’s exactly the case here. The third special is where everything finally connects and we learn who is really pulling the strings here. Lets just say that everything has been leading up to this moment.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Dance Magic Review


It’s time to look at the first of 3 Equestria Girl shorts. Initially I was going to review the 3 specials as one post as some sites seem to list it as season 1 episodes 1-3, but at the same time it’s hard to find an actual title for what that series would be. It sort of tows the line between being 3 separate specials and a quick miniseries. To make it simple I figured I would just treat it as 3 quick specials. As such these reviews will be a bit smaller since it’s like reviewing an episode.

In this special, the Mane 7 are trying to earn some money to repair Camp Everfree after the events of the film. Unfortunately things are not going very well on this front. The group has not made a lot of money and the deadline is almost here. That’s when Rarity has the idea of entering a Dance competition where the grand prize would give them all the money they need. The risk is that the entry fee will clean them out so they either win it all or lose everything. The rest of the MLP members reluctantly agree to this. Rarity is confident that they will win, but another wrinkle is thrown into the plan when a group of rival classmates steal Rarity’s idea for the show. With only minutes remaining, can Rarity think of a way to still claim first place?

This plot has been used before in the main series where some characters stole Rarity’s ideas as well. As she has the mark of generosity that makes her a very easy target for hooligans like this. It can be a bit annoying to see Rarity so oblivious, but this is why she isn’t the leader of the team. You can bet that this wouldn’t have worked on Sunset Shimmer or Starlight Glimmer. It’s a good conflict here as the heroes can naturally go and beat these kids up with their super powers or they can make the heroic call and let them be. I’d at least report them, but it’s your word vs theirs which makes things fishy.

Alas, this special isn’t really about big conflicts and such. The heroes decide to help the bullies out anyway since they were so desperate. It turns out that these students weren’t so bad after all and all of that. It’s a bit hard to swallow of course, but I suppose it is what it is. The Mane 7 have always been pretty good at forgiving people so it’s not exactly surprising that it would play out this way. I do think Sunset was ready to fight if necessary though which is why she’s such a good character.

This was a good way to start off the trilogy as we got some good musical beats during the dances. The special had a lot of energy throughout and had good writing. The animation looks pretty similar to the movies although naturally it’s not quite as detailed. It’s bright and colorful which is the important thing. I’d compare the animation to Rescue Bots or something of that nature. It won’t be winning any awards, but it’s not bad either.

From the villains, Sugarcoat is annoying though. She’s not grateful in the slightest and is quick to mock the heroes even once they are all on the same side. She seems to think that she is a little better than everyone else and her arrogance is unwarranted. Look, I’m all for arrogant characters, but if you just got saved by someone in this contest you probably shouldn’t be talking tough for a while. The others may have also started out as villains, but at least they knew to stay quiet once the Mane 7 had pity on them.

Overall, Dance Magic shows that it’s good to be kind, but you also have to be ready for all of the cheaters in the world. They aren’t going to just let you get past without a fight. It’s one thing to help someone out if they seem nervous, but if you’re in a competition you shouldn’t show off your routine before you have it securely patented and registered. Rarity taught us these valuable life lessons. If you haven’t seen this special yet then I’d recommend changing that. It’s pretty fun and easily works as an episode in the series.

Overall 7/10

Maze Runner: The Death Cure Review


It’s been quite a while since I saw the Scorch Trials but I knew that someday I would finish this series. That time is now and the Death Cure actually isn’t a bad film. For the most part it’s actually pretty solid but ends up losing a lot of steam by the time it reaches the ending. There really isn’t much of humanity left to save either.

The film starts with an almost humorous action scene where the main characters steal an entire train, knock out all of the guards and then fly out of there. They are lucky that the guards can’t shoot straight or that they had no cameras active to see the obvious traps that were set out for them. This sort of plot hax will be around for a while so now is a good time to get used to it. The characters have now freed over 100 kids and are ready to sail off to a better tomorrow. The problem is that one of their friends from the first film is still captured. Thomas, Newt, and Frypan head off to find him before also being joined by Jorge and Brenda. They will have to break into the enemy stronghold to free him and will have to risk everything one last time. Can they do it?

There is certainly a lot of action here. We have constant gun fights and miscellaneous explosions occurring off screen. There is even a hand to hand fight near the end. Naturally these kids aren’t exactly master martial arts so it’s really just both sides throwing a lot of punches as opposed to a lot of crispy choreography. The climax is really just one large war zone as the characters try to make it out in one piece.

The pacing isn’t bad either as things tend to move quickly. The heroes are rarely given a chance to rest and so the film is moving a lot as well. I can’t say the writing was all that good though as characters constantly sound like they are in a horror movie with all the needless yelling. The character cast also isn’t amazing and I had some issues with the ending. To explain why the ending is no ot that good without spoilers is a little tricky, but here goes. The whole film series is really about choosing a side. Is the government right for sacrificing around 50 kids to save the human population or should the kids simply escape but also soon humanity along with them? Well the choice was taken out of your hands early on as the government is unnecessarily cruel the whole time. They even go so far as to attempt to destroy one of the kids when harnessing his blood slowly would have been safer and could have saved more people. It’s also worth noting that their cures keep failing so they are gambling the kids lives on just a hunch. Then in the ending we basically realize that all hope is lost. Unless there is yet another lost city in the middle of nowhere but that would be super convenient. It means that the whole trilogy was ultimately pointless for most of the human race.

As I mentioned earlier there is also quite a lot of plot hax to be found here. The villains constantly seem to be on the losing side when they should have this in the bag. The amount of times they yell “freeze” is almost funny because the heroes absolutely never listen and it always results in the villains losing once again. The scene where the bus is surrounded is the worst part as they just watch one of the characters clip it to a construction crane and lift the bus out of there. They probably should have fired their guns.

Thomas is the main character and he is definitely no good. He is said to be a very forgiving character multiple times in the film to the point where he is ready to quickly forgive Teresa after she betrayed the heroes and took a role in torturing one of his friends. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that he forgives everyone but Thomas isn’t consistent about that. We’ve also got a kid who was mind controlled and forced into destroying another kid. The guy seemingly died but now he has returned and Thomas absolutely won’t forgive him. So really, it’s not that he is a forgiving person by nature, he just likes Teresa so he is willing to overlook her faults. He doesn’t handle the romance situation very well either and tends to not make very good commands as the leader. He’s just not a guy that you would want to follow into battle. Especially since he is always admitting that he has no idea what they are even doing.

Then we have Teresa who does not regret turning evil. That should mean she will be portrayed as a villain right? Well surprisingly the film actually tries to make her a little sympathetic with the classic the Ends Justify the Means line of thinking. That didn’t fly back in the day and it still doesn’t. She is on the wrong side and the film did a poor job of trying to show her switch sides or even making her cause look legitimate. As such the character was just pretty bad the whole time. The same goes for her Boss who spends the first two films capturing the kids and putting them in painful experiments. Now she is finally having second thoughts and it’s just way too late for that.

The only good villain is the main chief of security, Janson. He is sticking to his guns literally in this film as he shots quite a few characters and also knows how to fight. I mean, he’s not a great fighter as he can barely go even with Thomas but I suppose it’s a start at the very least. Janson also knows when it’s time to pull back and just win with a gun instead. His demise seems a little hard to buy since he would have known the room better than anyone and what it would take to break the glass though.

Newt was a solid character. He always does his best to support Thomas while also calling him out when the lead starts to act fishy. He has been infected for a while but manages to keep it quiet so as not to distract from the mission. Newt does have his typical blow up moment at Thomas which comes off as rather forced but that’s really his only iffy scene. Then we have the ex bully who still calls Thomas greeny. Honestly I barely remember the character at all so he may as well be a new character in this one. He is the commander of the resistance (How’d that happen?) aside from one old man who is consulted at times. He doesn’t tend to panic as much as the others and saves the leads quite a few times so at the very least he was really good in this film. More prepared than the others at the very least.

One scene that will really stick with you is when the main characters walk into a dark tunnel and are basically unarmed. Even if there wasn’t an army of zombies down there, what could they have possibly done against the villains in such a state? You have to bring a ton of ammo at the very least or some kind of plan. The heroes had neither and would have been doomed several times if they hadn’t kept getting saved. The whole film you are reminded of this as the heroes are just out of their depth for the majority of the movie.

Overall, The Death Cure isn’t a bad action film. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and the series ends on a fairly good note. The ending is a little more hopeless than I would have liked and a certain death didn’t really need to happen since things were so bad already. It also didn’t help Thomas much either since at the very end he writes someone’s name down which basically proves his allegiance once more. If you want to see a film with a lot of action scenes then this is the place to go, but don’t expect it to be the kind of film that you will never forget.

Overall 6/10

Cars 3 Review


It’s time to take a look at the end of the trilogy. Cars had a good run as there aren’t too many Pixar films that have gotten two sequels. That being said, while the final installment is pretty solid, I’d still say that the original Cars is the best one. This film just had one thing that went against it, but it was a fairly big thing, the ending.

The film starts off with Lightning McQueen in a big race. He is at the head of the pack as per usual but then he is passed by Storm, a new kid on the block. The kid claims that he used to look up to Lightning, but that the main character is just too old to compete nowadays. He throws a lot of age related burns Lightning’s way and the lead pushes himself too hard as he tries to catch up and ends up getting into an accident. This leads him to stay out of the races for a few months, but nothing can keep Lightning down for very long. He decides to get back into the races and to do that he will have to use the latest training tech. His sponsors were bought out by a millionaire who loves the high tech stuff, but he may not be quite as nice as the older guys. At the end of the day, Lightning is going to have to prove that he has what it takes to get back on the track and claim victory.

The theme of the main character getting old and being surpassed by new talent is certainly a tried and true one. Rocky is certainly well known for doing it. We even get a lot of training for Lightning as he tries to get better although the film fumbles this part a little. Lightning’s personal trainer, Cruz decides to follow him and she doesn’t believe that he has what it takes to go all the way. As such, Lightning spends most of his time helping her out instead of actually training. He doesn’t get much faster than he was so in a way old and actually ended up winning this time. Lightning looks good during the final race but he doesn’t end up winning so that’s too bad. It’s not like he got a clean win in the first film either but at least it was obvious he was going to win and the crowd reinforced this. In this film Lightning was only projected to make it to the top 10 before he tagged in Cruz. To be clear, the point of this part of the film is that Lightning couldn’t train as much as he wanted too so that was the film’s intention. I just say they fumbled the ball because the plot took a different turn than I had been hoping for. I wanted the hype comeback story where Lightning wins and then I’d be fine with him retiring. Having him put it all on the line one last time would have been exciting. Maybe Lightning would have been able to take 1st or maybe not. We’ll just never know. As the ending played I thought that Lightning and the trainer would both be competing but under different teams. That would have been neat.

The animation is as solid as ever. The film’s definitely does a great job with all of the car designs and I still crack up at their facial expressions. Throw in the grins and you are constantly entertained. The racing scenes look really nice and the music is also pretty good. The film has an actual soundtrack which is nice. Cars 3 definitely did a good job on all the technical levels. Even the way everyone says “Lightning McQueen” is a lot of fun. I don’t know why but they always seem to taking a jab at him with the way they stretch out his name but maybe I am overthinking it.

As expected the writing is also really good and is a considerable upgrade from the last film. It is just really great to have Lightning back as the lead. He does a great job of looking like the seasoned veteran you would expect him to be at this point. The mind games don’t really work on him at this point and he doesn’t take his training for granted. Even his depression phase was quite small and he snapped out of it very quickly. I do think it makes the initial teaser very misleading as the crash wasn’t nearly as bad as it implied, but it was a good misdirect. After all, the crash still did happen so it certainly wasn’t false advertising. It’s probably safe to say at this point that Lightning is one of Pixar’s best leads.

The supporting cast is solid as well. They brought back Lightning’s rival from the first film and he definitely does not like Lightning any more than he used to. In fact I’d say his aggression has only increased with age and he takes numerous shots at McQueen whenever he is on the air. His segments are definitely a lot of fun and certainly is a highlight of the film. What you have to respect the most about this guy is that he isn’t trying to put on some kind of act. He is straight forward about how he doesn’t like Lightning and I dare say that he is the most enjoyable character in the film. It just doesn’t get better than this guy.

The new villain is also pretty solid. Storm thinks that the younger cars are the ones who should be on top of the circuit and is always throwing insults at Lightning based on his age. He has a great design and his speed is certainly the real deal. The scene where he is training and passes a hologram of Lightning is a lot of fun as well. Jackson is arrogant and extremely confident. Those are definitely qualities that you always want in a villain and he pulls them off very well. We have yet to have a bad enemy racer for Lightning which is pretty impressive. All 3 opponents were fun villains. At least this one doesn’t play dirty til the end so he did win all of his races with skill.

Finally we have Cruz. I’m afraid that her character was a bit of a miss since the movie tries to portray her as a prodigy with the oblivious nature of Mater. This isn’t a good combo for many reasons, one of which is that these character traits really clash. You can’t be someone who really knows what to do on the track and also not have any real common sense for new roads. When she heads to the beach for the first time she has absolutely no idea how to drive. Cruz can’t turn and falls in every puddle. She is exaggeratedly bad at being a racer despite earlier scenes making a point of showing that she was great at the simulator. Then she is supposed to be a great trainer who is great at helping any car get to the next level. She individualized the training for each car based on which obstacles they had which prevented them from getting to the next level. Yet, she could not do the same for Lightning and instead seems to be trying to sabotage his chances of being ready for the race. Perhaps the angle that the film was going for was that she was such a big fan of Lightning that she really did think he was too old and didn’t want him to tarnish his legacy. That theory is a bit of a stretch though and either way it doesn’t really help her case. The part of her character that had the most potential was her dream of driving but even that is a little murky.

When this plot was first introduced I figured that they were going to say that Sue wasn’t able to be a racer because girls weren’t allowed at the time or in her district. It would have been very disappointing for her and would have been a legitimate reason for her to have hung up the tires in place of being a coach. Instead, she was simply intimidated by the cars and quickly gave up. It’s hard to be sympathetic to her plight because it sounds like she never even gave it a second go. She couldn’t have been all that excited to be a racer if she gave up on her goal so quickly. At least for me, this twist weakened her story.

I should wrap up this section or it’ll start to be as long as the rest of the review! This is just my explanation for why her character was ruined out of the gate. Her personality and what we knew of the character completely clash with each other. She appears to be smart and competent in some scenes and not so much in others. You’d think that the film switched writers midway or at least made some big changes to he character. As for the other supporting characters, they were okay. We got a group of older cars who help Lightning get ready for the race with some motivation and a track for him to ride on. They don’t appear too much of get much of a role, but they seemed like solid characters. The other cars back home got their cameos in as well.

The only relatively weak part of the film is when the gang heads over to the underground racing arena where they fight a Magic School Bus homage. It’s not so much that this is a bad scene but it basically feels like filler and I didn’t care for any of the characters there. This was also during the phase where Cruz was pretty annoying. I suppose it was a good way of showing that Lightning is proficient in all kinds of races, but that probably could have been handled better.

Overall, Cars 3 is a good way to end the trilogy. If the story does end here, it’s not such a bad way to end off. Lightning still should have won the race and that would have solidified this as a great film and the best in the trilogy, but I suppose you can’t win them all. If you’re looking for a fun racing film with a good lead then you have come to the right place. What really makes Cars 3 so solid is the fact that the writing is certainly on point. It’s an enjoyable film even when not much is happening because the dialogue is good. That being said, the pacing is pretty quick for the most part. I would definitely recommend this film. It’s an all around solid movie.

Overall 7/10

Transformers: Combiner Wars Review

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It’s time to look at the recent online miniseries that came out. Unfortunately, it would be taking the old “5 minute episodes” tactic that rarely ever works out well. The main difference between this one and Pokemon Generations is that the episodes do combine to tell one self contained story. It does have a bit of a cliffhanger to lead into the next part of the trilogy though. It’s a pretty solid mini show that could have certainly benefited from having normal length episodes instead of mini ones, but was fairly decent for its limitations.

The plot takes place in the far future, which is a nice change of pace since most of the shows and movies all take place during the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. The comics have long since passed this part in history, but the shows and movies don’t seem to ever want to leave it. I guess it makes sense since that era had a lot of interesting characters and battles to look at, but the future arcs can be a blast too. Case in point, the plot in this series is actually very interesting and epic. The series itself just fails to completely utilize it.

Both sides are now working together since there aren’t Decepticons and Autobots anymore. Rodimus Prime, Starscream, and The Mistress of Flame are the three rulers now. They use Combiners to take any pockets of villain resistance left. The world still isn’t at peace and it probably never will be, but the situation isn’t half bad at this point. Unfortunately, that’s when the heroes get the bright idea to try and use a super special item to mind control all of the Combiners to have them serve as a personal army. This will take away their autonomy and it’ll serve as the ultimate counter to evil. How can this fail? Rodimus half heartedly advises against it, but is then for it later on. All three of the members go back and forth on the issue until someone ensures that the device is used. It’s like they always say, if you have a weapon, that means you intend to use it at some point.

Windblade knows about what is going on so she recruits Optimus Prime to help her end this. She wants to destroy the device and Prime is in agreement, although he isn’t thrilled about being called back into action. He’s in retirement and nobody likes him even though he fought for peace for many centuries. People blame him for the war and that just goes to show that the average Cybertronian isn’t much smarter than the average human. I can’t believe that Prime of all people would be turned into an outcast after the many sacrifices that he made for justice. It’s pretty unreal. Prime also realizes that the two of them against an army of combiners may be a bit unrealistic so they call in Megatron. Megatron’s enjoying his retirement at a Colosseum, but he’s certainly happy to help if it means messing up Starscream and the others.

Seeing Optimus Prime and Megatron team up was probably the biggest hype moment of the mini series. Unfortunately, there really weren’t any villains for them to fight by that point. They got to shoot at the giant Starscream and at a few Combiners, but I would have liked more of a tangible threat for them to be honest. The back and forth between the two rivals was always good though and we saw their battle experience first hand. You always get the sense that Megatron and Prime are head and shoulders above the rest of the robots. Prime’s retirement was definitely pretty iffy if you ask me and seemed like another hero giving up the Luke Skywalker way. It’s a stretch to imagine Prime just deciding to give up and let others wield the torch, but at least that won’t be a problem for the next two parts of the trilogy. Megatron was definitely in character the whole time though and I can definitely see him being a big villain again someday.

Rodimus Prime didn’t look all that smart though. I don’t know how everyone just decided that it would be a good idea to let Starscream on the tribunal. If you ask me…that’s just not a smart move. Even if he claims that he’s changed….it’s Starscream that we’re talking about. He’s the shadiest Decepticon of them all. Starscream’s definitely pretty solid though. He has a good plan and considered all of the angles. You definitely can’t say that he’s not one of the smartest bots out there.

Windblade was basically the main character and she was really good. It’s nice to see her as a hardcore assassin. Robots in Disguise tried to make her really cool as well and she is decent in that show, but this one goes a little more all out. She’ll remind you of Arcee from the Transformer comics. Windblade gets the job done and while she should not have won her fight against the Combiner, (Get ready for a lot of plot hax, but this show is full of that so you won’t be surprised by the end) Windblade is definitely a character who is easy to root for and I would certainly say that she is one of the better Transformers overall.

As expected, the characters and the plot are good. Now, where did the series fail? Well, the 5 minute episodes really ensure that the show can’t do much. Now only are the episodes only around 5 minutes long, but they really waste time. One episode will have someone flying for about a minute or another will just have people talking about nothing really important for a while. I feel like the show was trying to show off its animation, but since the graphics weren’t really anything to write home about…it didn’t work. Plus, time was a big factor here so the show needed to take it into consideration.

The graphics aren’t bad though and despite getting a lot of heat, I dare say that they even look great. They have the style of a PS2 game, but with modernized graphics. The colors really stand out and since it is night time for most of the series, the contrasts make for really good visuals. The energy attacks all look sharp as well and these are graphics that I grew up with to the extent where the designs look solid. It’s hard to describe, but the robots actually look strong and menacing instead of skinny and more unassuming. It can’t hold its own to a modern hand drawn anime or anything like that, but the CGI is really good. I can’t say that I really remember the soundtrack all that well though. It’s very forgettable and it’s the kind of fare that works well while you’re in the moment, but just barely. It covers its bases and that’s about it.

Combiner Wars does end on a really epic note though. The cliff hanger for part 2 is really intense since aliens may finally be showing up to make a move. That’s one aspect of Transformers that was never handled too well. Aliens showing up could be really awesome, but usually their designs aren’t great or they just don’t get to do much. A proper Transformers vs Aliens plot for the sequel could definitely be really cool. It would certainly make for a better fight than Prime and friends against Cosmic Giant. The final fight is a little underwhelming because the villain can barely move and the heroes can’t hurt him, which leads to an unfortunate stale mate. Some good visuals make it in there, but that’s about all that you can say for it.
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Overall, Transformers: Combiner Wars is a pretty fun little show. Just treat it as a 30 minute OVA and it works well. The animation is solid and the fight scenes are a lot of fun aside from the last one. The plot is very engaging and the main character cast of Windblade, Prime, and Megatron is a good trio. It will also remind you of just how good the show could have been had it been full length though. Despite it being a series about Combiners, we didn’t get to see them do all that much here. There was simply no time since the series had to try and fit everybody in with the limited length. Hopefully the next part will either have more episodes or they will be able to extend the length of each episode. I think that would do wonders for the show. Still, I recommend it if you’re interested in the future timeline of Transformers, which is rarely explored.

Overall 7/10